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A Perfect GibraltarA Perfect Gibraltar

The Battle for Monterrey, Mexico, 1846

Christopher D. Dishman

Narrated by Donnie Sipes

Approximately 8.5 hours

Unabridged


Downloadable edition:

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Book published by University of Oklahoma Press


The dramatic story of the U.S. Army's first major encounter with urban warfare.

For three days in the fall of 1846, U.S. and Mexican soldiers fought fiercely in the picturesque city of Monterrey, turning the northern Mexican town, known for its towering mountains and luxurious gardens, into one of the nineteenth century's most gruesome battlefields. Led by Brigadier General Zachary Taylor, graduates of the U.S. Military Academy encountered a city almost perfectly protected by mountains, a river, and a vast plain. Monterey's ideal defensive position inspired more than one U.S. soldier to call the city "a perfect Gibraltar." The first day of fighting was deadly for the Americans, especially the newly graduated West Point cadets. But they soon adjusted their tactics and began fighting building to building.

Chris D. Dishman conveys in a vivid narrative the intensity and drama of the Battle of Monterrey, which marked the first time U.S. troops engaged in prolonged urban combat. Future Civil War generals and West Point graduates fought desperately alongside rough Texan, Mississippian, and Tennessean volunteers. General Taylor engineered one of the army's first wars of maneuver at Monterrey by sending the bulk of his troops against the weakest part of the city, and embedded press reporters wrote eyewitness accounts of the action for readers back in the States. Dishman interweaves descriptions of troop maneuvers and clashes between units using pistols and rifles with accounts of hand-to-hand combat involving edged weapons, stones, clubs, and bare hands. He brings regular soldiers and citizen volunteers to life in personal vignettes that draw on firsthand accounts from letters, diaries, and reports written by men on both sides. An epilogue carries the narrative thread to the conclusion of the war.

Dishman has canvassed a wide range of Mexican and American sources and walked Monterrey's streets and battlefields. Accompanied by maps and period illustrations, this skillfully written history will interest scholars, history enthusiasts, and everyone who enjoys a true war story well told.

Christopher D. Dishman is Chief of the Border Serurity Branch of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

REVIEWS:

“I have long believed the three-day siege of Monterrey deserves a book of its own. Christopher D. Dishman has done exactly that, giving this bloody battle, critically important and uncertain in its outcome, the focus it deserves. Impressively researched, readable, and rich in the human element, A Perfect Gibraltar is a welcome addition.”

—John S. D. Eisenhower, author of So Far from God: The U.S. War with Mexico, 1846–1848

“Useful for scholars but also attractive to a broader reading public, this first full-length book on the Battle of Monterrey provides a vivid and fast-moving narrative in which scenes of the battle come alive, supported by an impressive array of maps and illustrations. Dishman's account grips the reader, even if the outcome is never in doubt.”

—Miguel Ángel González Quiroga, author of Nuevo Leo´n ocupado: Aspectos de la guerra Me´xico–Estados Unidos

“Using numerous primary sources including an ample number of Mexican sources, Dishman provides the most complete account of the Battle of Monterrey to date. Because Monterrey is a little-known battle in a forgotten war, this book will help rescue it from obscurity. I recommend this important work.”

—Timothy D. Johnson, author of A Gallant Little Army: The Mexico City Campaign

“Using numerous primary sources including an ample number of Mexican sources, Dishman provides the most complete account of the Battle of Monterrey to date. Because Monterrey is a little-known battle in a forgotten war, this book will help rescue it from obscurity. I recommend this important work.”

—Timothy D. Johnson, author of A Gallant Little Army: The Mexico City Campaign

“Dishman's substantive study highlights the difficulties of urban warfare and provides new perspectives on the United States' war with Mexico.”

—Joseph G. Dawson, III, author of Doniphan's Epic March: The 1st Missouri Volunteers in the Mexican War

The Perfect Gibraltar signals a maturing of Mexican War studies. Dishman takes the literature of the field to a new level by offering readers the short, quality battle study they expect from Civil War authors. His work should appeal to both the general reader and the scholar.”

—Richard Bruce Winders, author of Mr. Polk's Army and Crisis in the Southwest





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